The Swamp by Derek Walcott

Gnawing the highway’ s edges, its black mouth

Hums quietly: ‘Home, come home …’

Behind its viscous breath the very word ‘growth’

Grows fungi, rot;

White mottling its root.

More dreaded  

Than canebreak, quarry ,or sun – shocked gully – bed

Its horrors held Hemingway’s hero rooted

To sure, clear shallows.


It begins nothing. Limbo of cracker convicts, Negroes

Its black mood 

Each sunset takes a smear of your life’s blood.


Fearful, original sinuosities! Each mangroves sapling

serpentlike, its root obscene

As a six – fingered hand,

Conceal within its clutch the mossbacked toad,

toadstools, the potent ginger – Lily,

Petals of blood,


The speckled vulva of the tiger – orchid;

Outlandish phalloi

Haunting the travellers of its one road. 


Deep, deeper than sleep

Like death, 

Too rich in it’s decrescence, too close of breath,

In the fast – filling night, note

How the last bird drinks darkness with its throat

How the wild saplings slip

Backward to darkness, go black 

With widening amnesia ,take the edge 

Of nothing to them slowly, merge

Limb,tongue and sinew into  a knot 

Like Chaos, like the road


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One Comment

  1. Pls someone should analyze this peom for me according to my question
    1 What do you think is/are the thrust in the poem?

    2. Identify, then, explain the poetic devices employed by the poet in the poem.

    3. How effective are the use of the devices you identified in 3, most especially in projecting the poet’s thought?

    4. In what way(s) has the poet been able to reflect the Caribbean society in the poem?

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